Anybody Ever Shoot B&W Slide Film?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Ricochetrider, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. So, after joining a "slide film" group on f@c3b00k, it came to light that Adox makes black and white reversal film- the Scala 160 and also Silvermax 100. I believe the Silvermax can be processed as a negative or reversal film; pretty sure the Scala is strictly reversal process film- apparently this needs a special Dr5 process? There seem to be at least one lab- perhaps owned or operated by or especially for Adox reversal film? It doesn't seem to be any more expensive than normal B&W or C-41 processes.

    Anyway, I am intrigued. right just give it a go. Oh, 35mm only, not available in 120.

    Anyone ever shoot any of this film?
    Can you post examples of shot taken with it?

  2. You can make slides from negatives by exposing a slow (preferably clear base) negative film to your negatives, but the process does require some experimentation to get desired results and it also adds contrast to the original image. My only experience was someone needed black & white slides from early 20th century glass negatives. All I had on hand was Plus-X but it worked well enough.
    I think, though, if I wanted slides today I'd go with a conventional B/W film processed in a reversal kit. I've heard Kodak's TMAX 100 works well as a slide film, but no doubt there are others that would work well too.
  3. What are the characteristics of BW slide film? For example, color slide film has less stops, more contrat, is sharper. Highlights get burned you want to underexpose. Are these similar to BW slide film?
  4. Honestly? In 2020? Not worth it unless you're projecting the stuff. Scala was superb, shot lots of 35mm and 120 when Toronto had a Scala-process lab. Wouldn't bother now with b&w reversal materials for the time, trouble and expense involved.YMMV, as always.
  5. Haven't projected anything in decades but way back I did some black and white slides by printing on 5302 film. I never found black and white slides very satisfying, even though I love good black and white prints.
  6. With a bit of luck you might be able to get a 'short end' of Eastman B&W positive print stock. Can also be used in camera at around 10 ISO as a practically grainless negative film.
  7. AJG


    If this is what I think it is it its also primarily blue sensitive, just the thing for those 19th century wet plate white skies.
  8. I have been intrigued by this process.. but I never did try it. I saw that the reversal step was exposing the wet negs to a moderately weak light bulb and then another bath IIRC. I had found a school education film strip roll that was obviously just B&W film and I thought it might be cool to develop a roll just for fun. The idea of projecting my landscapes seemed cool. Still does!! Maybe I should try my hand at it.. I read above someone saying prints were better... I probably will come to this conclusion too.. but still curious!
  9. Not quite as simple as that.

    The film is first developed in a normal negative developer, followed by a 'bleach' bath that dissolves the developed silver image away, but leaves the light-sensitive halide emulsion.

    Then the film is exposed to a strong light on both sides to fully fog the remaining silver-halides.

    Next a second 'print strength' developer is used. This needs to produce an image with more contrast and density than a normal negative, because you're effectively making a print on the film base.

    Finally the image is fixed to remove any unused silver salts and then washed and dried as usual.

    With a bit of luck, if you've chosen a suitable film and got the balance right between the 1st and 2nd developer, you have an acceptable positive image.

    Or you can just use a normal negative and contact print it onto a high contrast copy film. Much more controllable. Plus the base of copying film is water-clear and has no density to prevent light-piping.

    This latter method is how projection positives were traditionally produced in the movie industry.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  10. I used to do this quite regularly to prepare slides for R&D review presentations; it was particularly useful for electron microscope images. This was in the days long before Powerpoint presentations and digital imaging.

    I used Panatomic-X then. More recently I've used Ilford FP4 to make Stereo slides. substituting permanganate for the chromate bleach.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  11. I have used Scala 200 and still have 8 or 9 rolls in the fridge
    I had pretty good luck with it
    Here is a shot taken with the Hasselblad

    SCAN 4 reduced.jpg
  12. I have a "Kodak Direct Positive Film Developing Outfit".

    (Note: not the later TMax 100 version.)

    I haven't had the chance to try it out yet.

    When I was young, and just starting in darkroom photography, my father shot
    slides on Kodachrome, and later Ektachrome, but I couldn't afford that.

    I did see in stores the above mentioned kit, but also couldn't afford it.
    (That was when I was about 10.)

    I did once buy from Freestyle 8x10 sheets of some material designed for
    making slides from negatives, but never got very good results.
    (That is, contact print 35mm negatives, cut out in the right shape,
    mount in cardboard mounts.)

    So, 50 years later, it will be interesting to see if it works.
    (Now that I can afford color slide film and processing.)

    Color film processing is convenient in that, in the end, all the silver
    is bleached and fixed out. Black and white is more complicated, with the
    need to remove the first developed silver, but not the second. The bleach
    has to convert to a form that isn't developable but is fixable.
  13. The above comment on bleach reminds me that there is a Kodak document on developing color negative film first as a black and white negative, and then as a color negative.

    First develop as an ordinary black and white negative, and fix as usual. Make prints just in case.

    Now bleach the silver image back to silver bromide, Most likely reexposure isn't needed, but maybe
    they do it anyway.

    Now develop in color developer, which will generate a dye image in the same way it normally does.

    Exactly when you should do this, the document doesn't say.

  14. I also used the Freestyle material when the lecture slides were to be used with an overhead projector.

    I didn't make contact prints but formed the image in an enlarger, just like an 8x10 print. I had no problems doing this and the tonality in the image could be quite good.
  15. Did it come in a blue (I think, it has been a lot of years) box, and say "3 minutes in Dektol" on the outside?

    Yes, I tried to make 35mm slides from it. Maybe it wasn't good for that.

    I seem to remember it as more gray than it might have been, or maybe lower contrast than I thought it should be.

  16. I can't remember the packaging other than I ordered the stuff from Freestyle, it was 35 years ago for me; I did process the transparencies in Dektol.

    Because I made my transparencies as I would a paper print, I was able to make test strips to determine exposure. The 8x10 size of my transparencies can make up for shortcomings in the photographic emulsion.
  17. Might have been about 45 years ago for me.

    The shortcomings I remember were low contrast and too much gray where it was supposed to be clear
    (that is, either gray base or background fog).

    That was before I knew about changing contrast with development and such.
    It said 3 minutes in Dektol, so I did that. I now wonder what it might have done with
    other development.
  18. I shot some Agfa Scala back in the 1990s. Loved it, and when I got access to a slide scanner, I found that it scanned really, really well. Having to mail it out to get processed prevented me from using it more.

    I haven't looked at today's stuff - in the grand scheme of things, I don't want to take on processing it, and I don't know how the mail outfits are (back in the original Agfa days, they had specific labs). It's more effort than I want to take on - I'm already shooting several different B&W negative films, plus Polaroid SX-70, 600, and (still) Packfilm. The beauty of the original Scala - in addition to how it looked - was that it was SUPER predictable, both in terms of how the film handled and the work the approved labs did. I've got enough unpredictability in terms of photography already :)

    If I happen to hear that the results are good and the service is predictable, I might give it a shot, though.
    Ricochetrider likes this.

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